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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Kindergarten Pressure

Uploaded: May 3, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I did a double take when we saw a two and a half year old who was neatly writing out the alphabet in chalk (upper and lower case letters) at the park. We were all quite surprised by his impressive writing skills. It started up yet another conversation about preschools and what our children should know to be prepared.

Sadly, discussing preschools can be a very stressful topic for parents. Some are shocked by the prices and waitlists. Others are overwhelmed by the choices available (part-time, Montessori, Waldorf, play-based, academic, international, etc). It's not easy to figure out what is the best fit for your child.

Yesterday, I came across this letter on my Facebook newsfeed. It was quite unsettling to read that a school cancelled the kindergarteners' performance because they felt that it would interfere too much with the children's preparation for college and future careers. So much pressure is being put on parents, teachers, and children. And it's especially troubling when it is at the expense of programs that help the child learn teamwork, confidence, public speaking, and so many more life skills. I hope this school is an exception and that most schools are able to stay balanced even with all the new requirements being thrown their way.
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Posted by Bunyip, a resident of Adobe-Meadows,
on May 4, 2014 at 8:32 am

Really, what is the purpose of life? To bombard kids with work? To pressure kids with a Stanford or else mentality? It is sickening the culture here. No sorry there is no culture here, it's vacuous. If you envy Chinese kids with there rote learning skills and thier "hard work" ethic, congratulations, we are headed there. But if, like me, you want your kids to truly be happy and free from the rat race at the age of 4, you will buck this nonsense. Social aptitude is much more beneficial then academics, in my opinion. Our kid will go to a non-US university. Will actually learn that there are more important things to life than Facebook or the kardashians. The US is like Rome, only the period before its fall. It's a race to the bottom with China, fueled by greed and misguided helicopter parents. Enjoy your kindergarten college prep classes and graduation ceremonies - what nut thought that kids need a graduation ceremony for kindergarten? Way to engrained the need to don a cap and gown. Uniquely American.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 4, 2014 at 11:43 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Bunyip - Thank you for sharing your views on the academic pressures put on young children today.

There is a petition to reinstate the kindergarteners' show. Almost 4,000 people have signed it so far.

Posted by PAUSD Nincompoopery , a resident of Community Center,
on May 5, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Couldn't agree more with Bunyip. When I visited Hoover Elementary School several years back it was like the school that cancelled the show for Kinders. They didn't allow parents in the classroom except one day a year (the day I observed) as they viewed the parents as a "disruption." They had signs on the wall of the Kindergarten classroom that said things like, "Homework is like pizza to go!" What the hell? What do pizza and homework have in common anyway? Were they trying to say that homework is just as much fun as eating pizza? No field trips (takes time away from the nose to the grindstone classroom work!). What the hell? Is childhood a sentence to be endured? Don't we want our children to be happy? The pendulum has swung so far.......especially at places like Gunn where the dominant style is like at Hoover. We are crazy crazy crazy to put up with all of this Nincompoopery.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on May 5, 2014 at 9:13 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

PAUSD Nincompoopery - Thank you for sharing your experiences. It is definitely a challenge to stay balanced. I hope the schools that are striving for balance get the recognition and respect they deserve.

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